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Childhood Vaccinations - Schedule of Required shots explained
  What is the BCG vaccine?
  What are IPV/OPV?
  What is the Hib (Haemophilus influenza Type B) vaccine?
  What is the pneumococcal vaccine?
  What is Hepatitis B vaccine?
  What is Hepatitis A vaccine?
  What is the rotavirus vaccine?
  What is the varicella vaccine?
  What is the MMR vaccine?
  Tell me more about the DTaP vaccine?
  Finally, how are vaccines made
Disclaimer: This article is for information only. Compiling the information has been done with care but we make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care expert for updates or when in doubt.

Tell me more about the DTaP vaccine?

DTaP is a combination vaccine against three key diseases - diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw) and pertussis (whooping cough). The vaccine has been around for some time since the early 1990s.

Diphtheria is caused by bacteria but thanks to vaccination, there are hardly any incidence of this serious disease. The bacteria lives in the mouth, nose and throat of infected individuals and its spread is usually through coughing and sneezing also the rash which occurs in some types of diphtheria. The initial symptoms are sore throat and fever followed by a membrane forming at the back of the throat. Swelling in the neck next blocks the upper airway. In other forms of the disease, a rash or infection of the eye or ear develops. The disease can turn quite severe resulting in heart failure or paralysis and even death. Normally antitoxin and antibiotics are given to fight off the infection and toxin effects from the bacteria.

Lockjaw or Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system also caused by bacteria. Tetanus is more rampant in warmer climates and warmer months. Fortunately it is not contagious and neither is it spread from another person but still a vaccine as a preventive measure is necessary. The bacteria lives in manure and dirt and finds its way to the body through the lesions, bites and cuts in the skin. The symptoms manifests themselves after a week in the form of headache and irritability. This is followed by the standard muscle spasms caused by the toxin from the bacteria, occurring in jaw muscles but not confined to that area alone as the spasms can also occur in the neck, arms and leg muscles. The spasms are made worse by external stimulus such as touch or noise. Infected children will need to be observed in the ICU. Again antibiotics will be required along with care.

Pertussis or whooping cough is caused by bacteria and it is contagious. It is still quite common and seems to inflict babies as young as below 6 months (can be fatal) and children between ages 10-15 more commonly but can also affect any other age group rather easily. The contagious disease starts with people and spreads by coughing and sneezing. Typically, pertussis begins with a runny nose and cold which lasts for 1-2 weeks and often it is at this point when the infected person is the most contagious, it goes undiagnosed. At the next stage, the cough sets in. Large bouts of cough due to the thick, sticky mucus in the windpipe followed by large inhaled breaths make the cough sound like a whoop. Infants and young children do not whoop but instead have difficulty breathing and also have episodes of gasping and apnea, where the breathing stops suddenly. Pneumonia and seizures can also occur in isolated cases. Recovery is aided with antibiotics (after a swab test is done) to help contain the spread more than to heal the disease. The cough can last for weeks to months.

DTaP (acellular pertussis) stands for diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine which was formerly the DTP vaccine ('whole-cell' vaccine). The old pertussis vaccine included in the DTP vaccine had some unfavorable press due to the side-effects such as pain, swelling and redness in more than 50% of the children, and in more serious situations, seizures and high fever. Though the discomforts were not permanent, DTP shot was a put-off for many parents to the point they avoided the vaccine altogether. In 1997 DTaP came about and was recommended for use in all children. The new vaccine has a purified component called acellular pertussis and is thought to be more than 80% effective for pertussis and offers 95% protection against diphtheria and tetanus, and of course minus the side-effects of DTP.

Dose: CDC and vaccine manufacturers recommend 5 doses of DTaP for infants and children prior to 7 years of age. Today, brands of DTaP include Pentacel (DTaP-Hib-IPV) and Pediarix (DTap-HBV-IPV). Shots to be given at 2,4,6, 15-18 months and 4-6 years old.


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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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